Hello, peoples! It’s Alexa, and I am back with another book review, this time of a fantastic fantasy story by the one and only Jill Williamson.
Description From Author’s Website:
The god of the soil is furious. Volcanic eruptions, sinkholes, earthquakes–everything points to his unhappiness. At least this is what the people of Armania in the Five Realms believe. Amidst the unsettling state of the world around them, the princes of Armania live their lives focused more on who will claim the throne after their sickly father, King Echad, dies. That is until Prince Wilek’s concubine turns up dead–beside her, a bloodied message that seems to have come from the mother realms.
From the very start, this book plucks you right out of your world and tosses you into the turmoil of Armania. Don’t wanna give away anything about how it begins, but it wasn’t a battle, and it was chilling and gripping and intense. The setting of the first scene just makes tingles crawl up your spine and, though there is a lot of light-heartedness and fun mixed in throughout, the suspenseful, weighty feeling from the beginning always eventually returns to the front of your mind. As this is actually the first part in a longer novel that doesn’t come out till April, most of the plotlines haven’t been resolved yet; but what I’ve read so far is amazing, and I can’t wait to see where it’s headed next.
Plot: 5 stars out of 5.
There were four different POVs in this book, all with their own interconnecting and individual plots and problems, which made the story very intricate and a little complicated. Still, the common theme among the characters was that I adored them all. Trevn, Wilek, and Mielle were all intriguing and nuanced and flawed and different; for whatever reason, each of them stood out from their crowds but still strove to do the right thing. They definitely made some mistakes and I didn’t agree with all of their views, but through it all, I could see their hearts desiring to do good, pushing them to fight for what they believed in and do the right thing for their people. And since that often meant they were putting their own skin on the line, I doubly admired them for their courage. 😀
The only exception to this was Charlon. I didn’t dislike her, but she seemed so disconnected from the rest of the characters that between two of her POV chapters, I honestly forgot she was even in the story. Now I’m sure she’ll come up later and I didn’t dislike her, but since she didn’t interact like the others did, her story didn’t seem that important and I didn’t connect with her at all.
Still, the other three mains were beautiful, wonderful, and fantastic; I love them so much and I can’t wait to see where they go next. ❤
Characters: 4 stars out of 5.
One of the strongest things about this story, I think, is the worldbuilding. It’s so detailed and developed and pretty different too. I mean, you have all the stuff you’re used to seeing in a Medieval-style fantasy novel, but with a unique twist on every cliche. Like the Heir War. Armania has a monarchy, but rather than having the “firstborn-son-always-succeeds-the-throne setup,” a good deal of the plot is centered around the fact that the King chooses his own heir, regardless of the prince’s place in the sibling pecking order. Not only did that set the world apart, it threw in a good deal of conflict. And, in a story, conflict is always a good thing. 🙂
Writing Style/Setting: 5 stars out of 5.
Overall, we come in at about 4 1/2 stars out of 5. I really enjoyed this book, and while I wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers, at 18, I found it thrilling and brilliant, though rather chilling at several points. Darkness Reigns is more than just a fun ride. It has all the action and suspense of other books in its genre, yet with deep, complicated character roles one can thoroughly fall in love with. If you’d like to check this book out for yourself, you can get it for free (yes, I said FREE) on your ereader.
So what do you guys think of Medieval-style fantasies? What’s a cliche in them you’d like to see changed or the most unique one you’ve ever read? Can’t wait to see you in the comments!
Also, quick announcement: I’m taking a blogging break for the month of January. I love blogging so much, but it’s become kind of stressful lately and I need some time to reorganize my schedule and figure out how to get everything done as efficiently and stress-free-ly as possible. I do intend to keep commenting on other blogs and stuff of that nature, so I won’t disappear completely; I just won’t be posting on Verbosity for a couple of weeks. Thank you so much for understanding, I love you all, and I hope to see you around the blogosphere. 🙂